ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – It’s no secret that across South Carolina, police officers are put into dangerous situations every day.
SLED reports they are investigating 24 officer-involved shootings this year alone.
That’s why Upstate officers train to prepare for all kinds of potentially dangerous situation.
Anderson Police have a virtual simulator with 600 different scenarios that officers can walk and talk through. The situations change rapidly forcing each officer in training to choose quickly whether or not they need a gun.
“I wouldn’t say it is a constant danger but when it is dangerous, it’s dangerous,” said Capt. Edward Aman with Anderson Police Special Operations.
Whether officers are showing up at a home for a family fight or trying to talk to a man off a bridge, Anderson police say when officers arrive on any scene, they never know what will happen.
“There is so many things that could happen you never want to get your mind set,” said Cpl. Daniel Stipe. “The possibilities are endless on any kind of call for what kind of situation you can end up in.”
“The situations are ever evolving and they are dynamic and changing, so we want them to be aware,” Capt. Aman added.
Anderson Police, like many upstate law enforcement, continually train their officers for the unexpected.
“It isn’t necessarily always a shoot scenario. But you think, they put you in scenarios that you might have never been in real life,” Cpl. Stine said. “Just because you have a gun, doesn’t mean you have to shoot somebody. It always gives you something to think about.”
The department’s virtual simulator puts officers in real life scenarios with life size videos that react to their reactions. Each of the officers are forced to choose if a situation goes from verbal, to physical, to violent.
“It is really hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in those situations,” Capt. Aman explained.
Police want people to know, that officers are forced to make life or death decisions within seconds.That’s why they shown students and community members through the simulator before, to help them understand the dangers of the job.
“More often than not, you get folks who say you know, i am glad somebody else is doing that,” Capt. Aman added.
The simulator was paid for by drug forfeited money a few years ago. While Anderson police say nothing can truly prepare them for everything, they believe this simulator has helped tremendously.